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Tips To Manage Overweight & Underweight Dog's Weight

Let’s just get this out there; we don’t body shame dogs. Whatever size and shape they are, we absolutely love them all. But sadly, their weight has a very direct correlation to their health. And since we love them, we want them to be pain- and disease-free for life.

So what is the ideal weight for a dog? Your veterinarian should be able to tell you your pooch’s ideal weight based on their age and breed. As a rule of thumb, if you can see their backbone and pelvis, they need to put on a bit of weight and if you can’t easily feel their ribs, they could do with losing a bit. If you’ve got an overweight or underweight furry friend and want to learn more about weight management for dogs, read on!

Weight Management For Dogs 101

Just like humans, dogs gain weight when they eat more calories than they burn off and lose it when they eat fewer calories and burn off more. So, just like humans, diet and exercise are the twin keys to help your pooch get to their ideal weight.

Overweight Or Obese Dogs

What are the risks?

Obese dogs face a higher risk of many types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, joint degeneration and possible complications if they ever need to go under anesthesia.

Vet Checkup

If your dog seems overweight or obese, ask your doctor to check them for some medical causes like hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) or Cushing’s disease (overactive adrenal glands), both of which lead to weight gain. If neither of these shows up in their tests, it’s likely that your dog’s activity levels have reduced, but they’re still eating portions that are too big for their current caloric needs. This means it’s time to look into their food and exercise patterns.

Portion Control

Simply reducing the quantity of food is one option, but it might lead to malnutrition over time due to a lack of essential nutrients. So you need to tread a very fine line: enough of a calorie cut to cause weight loss but not so much that they aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals. Your veterinarian will help you with this.

Discipline

Do you offer your dog food from your plate? Sure, they may like it, but it isn’t good for them in the long run. Let them eat their food and not yours. It’s hard to say no to those pleading eyes, but you’re the parent here and you need to give them what they need and not what they want, and they need nutritious, balanced food that is designed for dogs.

exercise

Your pup is likely to love doing anything with you. Helping them expend energy with a run or a vigorous game of fetch will work wonders for their physical and mental health and for your bond with each other. Choose an activity you both love and you’ll find yourself and your pooch looking forward to it!

Underweight Dogs

Although much rarer, it’s possible that your skinny dog is not just slender, they’re underweight. Weight loss could be a red flag that warns of deeper health conditions and it’s important to address it for your dog’s continued health and well-being.

Vet Checkup

If you feel that your dog is underweight, check in with your vet immediately. Weight loss or being chronically underweight could signal health problems, and finding out about them early is invaluable in their treatment or management. Your vet will want to check your dog for relatively minor issues like tooth pain and gastrointestinal discomfort and for more serious conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease and cancer, all of which can cause a dog’s weight to drop.

Quantity Of Food

You might not be giving your dog enough food, or they simply may be fussy and not like the food that you’re offering. If this is the case, switching to gravy meals or a combination of gravy and dry food may help increase their intake, which will bring their weight up to healthy levels.

Type Of Food

Active dogs’ nutritional needs are very different from the average dog’s. You could try switching them to one designed for their activity levels like Pedigree Pro Active Adult dog food that contains all the nutrients necessary to support strong muscles and keep them at their active and agile best.

Activity

energy levels

If your dog is naturally more active but isn’t getting enough exercise, their appetite is likely to suffer and they might wind up losing weight because of that. Make sure your dog has enough enjoyable and challenging activity through the day to improve their appetite.

Other Factors

Sometimes, dogs shed weight as they get older due to a reduced appetite, loss of muscle mass and digestive problems. In this case, they might benefit from an easier-to-digest meal or smaller meals which are more evenly spaced-out. Sometimes when a dog is stressed, their food patterns will be disturbed. If their living situation has changed or if there are thunderstorms and firecrackers stressing them out, food may be the last thing on their mind. Feeding them food that is designed for humans might also cause highly preventable weight loss and malnourishment, so let your dog have the food that is best suited to them.

As with every health concern, your pet is counting on you to look out for them and to make sure they are fit. As their pet parent, keeping track of their needs and adjusting their environment and diet to suit their needs is the best way to show them your love and concern.

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